Forced Compliance


aviators_icon.gif ethan_icon.gif raith_icon.gif tris_icon.gif

Scene Title Forced Compliance
Synopsis Raith arranges for a meet between himself, Ethan and Aviators in the Midtown ruins.
Date November 17, 2009

Ruins of Midtown

Some evenings, the setting sun fills the sky with autumn colours — resplendent shades of yellow and orange bleeding gold and terra cotta pink. But not tonight. Tonight, there are clouds that are dark and heavy with the promise of rain, though the ground beneath booted feet is bone dry and has been since yesterday's dawn. Without the aid of a watch, it's impossible for either Ethan or Raith to know when dusk cedes to true darkness, so overcast and gray is the mottled sky above. A fog blows in from the waterfront, shrouding Midtown's desiccated interior in a silver haze that absorbs light and renders visibility to almost nothing.

It's the perfect place for an ambush. Which is, incidentally, probably what Teodoro and Eileen were thinking when they went after Emile Danko only a few days ago. The Sicilian himself has been excused from this expedition after escorting the Remnant's co-leaders to the designated meeting site, too creaky and physically damaged to be of much help if this attempt at negotiation fails.

Someone has to tell Gabriel what happened here if they don't return by morning.

Aviators and his uniformed companion are exactly where he said they'd be: standing in the shade of what was once Bryant Park.

Black fatigues do little in the way of camouflage, cutting stark lines in contrast to hazy mist and broken up concrete shapes in the distance. At least Tristan Bentley is not wearing the customary FRONTLINE mask, with its glowing red insect eyes. His face is that of a regular youngish man - younger, at least, than the two he's flanking Aviators to meet, feeling a little like a dog on a leash but letting no such sentiment display itself. His lantern jaw is clean shaven, sky blue eyes speculative and his posture attentive. His brush of blonde hair has been recently cut to a more severe length from his skull, damp now from the fog and recent rain.

He is, naturally, armed. Such weapons are concealed and not in his hands, which are clad in thick black gloves and resting loosely at his sides. Saying nothing, naturally, to the official he flanks, Tris only waits and keeps watch of their surroundings.

From a distance, looking through a small infrared monocle, everything looked to be about what Raith was expecting. Of course, he knows that Aviators would never meet with him unless he could be sure of an absolute tactical advantage. One he knows Raith has no chance of matching, given his current resources. Game goes to Uncle Sam. Set will hinge on whom can outthink whom, and in that particular game, Ethan is a handicap. The only question is who he's a handicap to.

From out of the obscuring fog and mist and dust, Raith appears in the way a ghost might, bundled up tightly, any weapons hidden out of sight. With some regularity, he glances back over his shoulder, partially to make sure that no one is sneaking on him, but mostly to make sure that Ethan hasn't decided to take matters into his own hands and disappeared into the shadows. They'll only have one shot at getting Eileen back; do NOT screw this up.

"I don't like it." Ethan growls through the dust. "You're retarded for taking this deal, and I'm more retarded for believing you 'ave a brain." Stepping solidly through, the man goes to rejoin at Raith's side, lengthening his stride to remain by the other man. "We should 'ave set 'em up. Sniper rifles, the fuckin' gay Italian boy, and Sylar. But no, you need to make me believe you can talk like a normal 'uman being." Spit flies out of his mouth. "You're going to fuck this up, good."

Pulling his trenchcoat closer together, Ethan glances at the monocle and then straight ahead. "But don't let that make you nervous now, fuck'ead." The Brit goes to crouch for a moment, armed to the teeth as well. Overarmed, if anything. Plenty of knives, guns and clips scattered along his person.

"We could've set them up, sure," Raith replies, "And then we'd never get Eileen back. But hey, if that's what you really want, I have no problems with changing the plan. I'm sure she'll really appreciate it from inside whatever secret prison they've got her in." Raith doesn't bother stopping to wait for Ethan when he crouches; he'll catch up. They've got Eileen, and that means they've got Ethan by the balls; he'll play by their rules for a little while. With any luck, they'll be able to reach an agreement and leave before mild-mannered Ethan Holden transforms back into his alter ego: Violence Man.

"Were you born into a box, or did you move into it in your pubescence? Take our own prisoners, fuckface. Interrogate, trade, all that business. Have you ever heard of that before?" Ethan asks coldly, going to stand up fully. "Works for me." Now standing, Ethan goes to catch up with Raith. "But I'm sure you have twenty brilliant ideas that make that look ridiculous, because you're so smart." Ethan mutters, tucking his hands into the deep pockets of his trench coat.

From somewhere in the ruins, there's a crackle of radio static. White noise. Dead air. Whatever you want to call it, it's coming from the radio Aviators wears on his belt. One hand drops down, rubs the pad of a callused thumb over the device's mouthpiece, saying nothing. Like Tris, he's undoubtedly armed, though no weapons are visible as bulges or wrinkles in the black material of his suit. A bluetooth microphone blinking blue at regular intervals is clipped to his tie as well — a direct line to the cell phone he carries in his jacket pocket rather than the radio at his hip.

It's still enough that he and Bentley can hear the sound of voices drifting in on the fog. Whether they can discern what's being said at a distance is up for debate. If they can, the older of the two men gives no indication, expressive eyes shielded by the polarized glasses that are his namesake.

"If things do go south," Raith replies, taking advantage of the little bit of time they have left to scheme, "I'll drop smoke. You grab Bucky, and I'll handle Captain America." Because punching out Captain America has always worked so well for everyone that's ever tried it.

"I'm starting to regret this choice of location," the ex-spy calls out to the active one when they're within reasonable earshot, "If it gets any colder out here, my nuts are going to drop off. Is it too late to move to a Dunkin Donuts?" A little jest to break the ice. Not that anyone will really benefit from it being broken, unless a sudden heatwave moves in. Maybe controlling the weather wouldn't be such a bad ability to have after all….

"If things do go south. You shoot at someone, you miss, someone punches you in the face, you stumble back, cuss a little and then get knocked out." Ethan explains simply. Gesturing lightly with his hands. Rolling back on the balls of his feet, Ethan's eyes roll around in his head, tilting his head back, looking up at the grey brown blackish skies. Finally the man glances back down at Raith, arching a brow at the other man. Dunkin' Donuts? Wha?

"Brilliant mate. You're a real funny guy." Ethan growls quietly before looking straight ahead.

Aviators' mouth splits into a wide grin at Raith's greeting, no real mirth in it — only teeth stained yellow by a strong-smelling combination of chewing tobacco and uncaffeinated coffee. He steps forward to meet the King of Swords and his Vanguard compatriot, leather loafers tinkling through matte shards of broken glass and other debris soft enough to yield and crunch under his shoes.

Showing empty palms, he closes the distance between them at an easy pace, body language inscrutable but relaxed. As Raith observed earlier, he has the tactical advantage and he knows it. There could be any number of government snipers lurking in bent window frames and on scorched roofs; even if they'd brought Gabriel and kept Teodoro, the odds tonight are not in the Remnant's favour. "I'm sorry it had to come to this," he says in a voice that's crisp and clean, loud enough to be heard not only by Tris, Ethan and Raith, but also by anyone else who might be in the immediate vicinity and watching the proceedings through the scope of a rifle. "If you'd accepted my proposition when I first made it, I wouldn't have to hang shit over your heads. Where's Sylar?"

Tris moves with Aviators as they come forward to greet the two men, or at least begin the conversation, and despite his uniform and presence, there's no militant crispness in his stride. He sweeps looks over the two men, his expression one of finding them both to be worthy of who he expected to show up as well as not particularly impressed. Then, it darts out wider, against shadows and mist, as if the Midtown Man would be summoned by his name.

For now, he's silent, alert as to the answer to that particular question as much as confirmation crackles in the radio in his ear that wherever Sylar is, he certainly isn't here.

"He's fucking around in some other city," Raith replies. It's not a lie either; not completely. "Unreliable chickenshit. Figure I would've learned my lesson in Korea. You want him? Fine, take him. You're on your own for finding him. But hey, if you want someone in exchange for the chickadee, I'll give you the limey bastard." A thumb is throw sideways to indicate that he does, in fact, mean Ethan. "If that's no good, give me a few days and I can probably round up half a dozen freaks on your wanted list, gift-wrapped and neatly ordered, delivered right to your door step.

"Or maybe you just want my name back on the registers, I don't know. We're here to deal. Let's deal."

Bringing one hand up, slowly, a pair of sunglasses are flicked out and balanced on the bridge of his nose. A pair of silver trimmed… aviators. The aviators are brought out in clear view of The Aviators, glasses pushed to his forehead, the Wolf smirks lightly. Reaching back into the pockets of his trench coat once again. A pack of cigarettes is pulled out in one hand, a lighter in the other. "Shit 'anger?" Ethan asks, taking a step forward, the man slowly pushes his arm out, holding the pack up to the other man.

Glancing to the boy flanking Aviators, the Wolf will then wave the pack of cigarettes to the boys before finally taking a step back. His own cancer stick is procured and then stuck into his mouth. A small flame appearing from the lighter. When Raith jerks his thumb Ethan-wards, Holden is kind enough to bare up a smile and give a friendly little wave to indicate that yes, he is the limey bastard. hi. As far as gift-wrapping freaks? "'e even 'as these ribbons that smell like raspberries. Fuck me. You ever 'eard of that, scented ribbons? I don't know 'ow they last so long. Fuckin' science. Like we're livin' in the future, 'ey?"

Aviators has not, in fact, heard of scented ribbons. He hikes up his eyebrows at Ethan from behind his own frames, lips thinning out into a more neutral expression that's a little less wolfish and a lot shrewder. "If by chickadee you mean 'Ruskin', then we might be at an impasse," he says. "I need her just as much as I need the two of you, and if I trade one for the other— well. I'm not any better off than I was when I agreed to barter."

His eyes track Ethan's movements as he goes through the familiar motions of lighting his cigarette. "We're prepared to offer her a new identity in exchange for her cooperation. American citizenship if she wants it, a scholarship to a university of her own choosing — girl's only twenty, you know. You've got no business keeping her for yourselves when she's still good enough for the rest of the world." He drops his hand, idly brushes knuckles across that radio on his belt. "Help us out with the Vanguard situation in Russia and South America, and I'll make you both a similar deal."

As Ethan waves the pack around, Tris— doesn't move, simply stands alert as required. The corner of his mouth does quirk up at some of the words exchanged, head tilted a little as he more listens to his superior than the other two, as much as they have his full visual attention.

"Ribbons optional," Tris adds, accent marking him as not a native to New York but undoubtedly American. Whether he's captain of anything is up for debate. "In case you haven't been reading the news lately," and Tristan hasn't, "you people have a few loose ends that need tying up. I should probably let you know that you're not being asked, right now. You're being told."

For a few seconds, Raith wears an expression of mock amazement on his face. "I didn't know you did ventriloquism!" he exclaims to Aviators, "That's astounding. I didn't even seen you moving to manipulate your dummy. That was absolutely incredible." His false amazement rapidly fades. "Oh, but that's not actually what happened just then, of course." Now, he addresses Tristan, and unlike his last speech, he is anything but joking. "We're not here to talk to you, junior, so can it while the grown-ups have a grown-up discussion, and then if you're good, maybe we'll let you wear the big boy pants." Whether or not the FRONTLINE operative reacts in the desired fashion, Raith turns his attention back to Aviators.

"Vanguard 'situation', huh? In other words, they're giving you grief in one form or another, and since all that shit with the secret prisons, the people in charge can't just take care of it like it used to. Mercs are out, since that money has to go somewhere, so instead, you need some clods like us. Disposable, deniable clods who you can get to work for peanuts to swoop in and make everything aaaall better. And what I'm hearing is that, when all is said and done, you'll give us a wad of cash, some guns and an…" He pauses for a moment with a sigh, but finally, he manages to get out the part he didn't want to bring up. "And an iPhone, and let us go right back to what we were doing before. That's what I'm hearing. That what you're saying?"

"Any university?" Ethan inclines his head, tilting his head thoughtfully. "And what th'fuck's the catch, a spook watchin 'er every move for the rest of 'er fuckin' life?" The man clears his throat. "You 'ave about as much business tellin' me 'ow I 'keep' the girl as I do tellin' you about your dental 'ygeine. You should switch to Colgate and brush two times a day." The Wolf lowers the lighter from the burning end of his cigarette. The top of the lighter is flicked close and then stuck into his coat pocket. But then, suddenly, his brows jack up. He even jerks a step back, head swivelling over to Tris.

"Ho-leee fuck. Nameless guy, did you know this guy could talk?!" Ethan looks practically stunned, staring over at Tris. But slowly his features start to relax, getting over the shock of Tris' sudden ability to speak. "Keep your tongue on cocks, boy. I'm talkin' to the guy with the sunglasses. When you wear sunglasses, maybe you can take a break from suckin' man-penis to say a few sentences. But for now…" And with that, Tris is dismissed. But Raith is taken in, and he can't help but smirk. Both practically stumbling over each other to insult the junior. But.. pause. "You'll give us fuckin' iPhones. Holy fuck, I'm in."

"I don't think you've been introduced to Officer Bentley," Aviators says. "This man," not boy, "is the face of this country's military future. FRONTLINE, Unit-01. Also your superior, so you can knock off the dick-stuffing jokes right now. I don't have to follow through on my end of the bargain with Ruskin, and I don't have to convince my superiors that turning you loose again when this is all over will cause less collateral damage than letting the Vanguard run wild in countries the American people don't give two shits about. Next time you're at the Dunkin' Donuts, ask your server if she can point to Argentina on a goddamn map."

A bead of bright red light lances through the fog and appears at the center of Ethan's just, several inches to the right of his heart. It hovers there for the duration of a breath before drifting upwards and settling between the Brit's eyes. "If you'd both be so kind as to put your hands on your heads?"

There's the sound of metal sliding against fabric as Aviators rattles off that non-request; a black sidearm leaping up from where it was kept on Tris's body, springing with only a thought from holster to hand, leveling towards Raith with surgical precision. It's a faster draw than anyone using only their hands would be able to pull off. Throughout the baiting, he'd kept stoic, though his attention on both men had gone from attentive to something sharper with overt dislike, angling off at Aviators' defense, but now he's back to business in accordance with the change of situation.

And no talking, apparently, as he waits for the two Vanguard men to comply.

The expression that Raith wears on his face is not a pleased one. It is anything but pleased, with the vast majority of his disdainful glare directed at Tristan. "Hey, old guys," he says, clearly meaning Ethan and Aviators, "Do you remember the days when nobody had any freakish psychic powers or electro-magnetic colons, and if you got into this kind of work, it meant that you were just really, really good at doing it? I remember those days." But, if nothing else, he complies and raises up his hands. "Those were good days. Before we all got bossed around by goddam kids who don't know shit about shit but have command because they can bend spoons with their mind? Yup. Good days." Game, Set, and Match: Uncle Sam.

"This decade's a lemon. I want my money back."

"Who's makin jokes?" Ethan smirks, shaking his head solidly before taking a step back. Letting out a breathy exhale, behind his own aviators Ethan rolls his eyes. "Not very good negotiation skills Sunglasses. You won't go anywhere in life if you can't listen to a man suckin' another man's cock. Straight and simple." Bringing up one hand, the aviators are taken off the man's face and then tossed over at Tris. Dropping his hand to his side. "If you didn't want us, you wouldn't offer. So fuck you. It's a deal or it aint. You don't want to force me into something, Glasses. There are a lot of dead people who would be begging you not to do this. Now listen. Fuck 'im, fuck me, you give me a satisfying deal for the girl, and I will fuckin' tug off your boy 'ere for a nickle. Got it?"

His hands stay conspicuously down at his sides. "Y'don't wanna threaten me, mate. Trust me, but I'm still willin' to deal."

There's no bang, no flash of light or smoke. Just the sound of air pressure and a buzz as the tranquiliser dart leaves Tris's gun, still aiming point blank for Raith's chest. However, the projectile arcs through the air as if guided by something magnetic, or not, you know. Quick as lightning, it comes to stick instead in the side of Ethan's throat, barely a fraction below his jaw. A second dart springs up from where it's strapped to Tris's vest, and, with his hands still leveling the gun at Raith, it deftly slips into the weapon with a telekinetic shift of the mechanism.

"We don't threaten," Tris states, simply, eyes on Raith. "You're not going to fuck around too, are you?"

Aviators studies Ethan, his face impassive. Above, the roar of rotors cutting through fog descends on their heads, kicking up a maelstrom of dust, fiberglass and years-old pages of faded newspaper. The helicopter itself appears a second later, its pilot obscured by the haze as he brings it down to land a safe distance from the group. It ruffles hair, tugs at clothes and makes it difficult — but not impossible — to hear what Raith's old ally has to say next.

"The times," he tells Jensen, "they are a-changin'." Even as he speaks, more uniformed figures are materializing from the silvery vapour, gunmetal glinting in their hands, the goggles glowing monster-in-the-closet red. Raith's arms are summarily wrenched behind his back, wrists fastened together by a pair of handcuffs that fit just a little too tight.

To Ethan: "I can think of nothing more satisfying than letting her live. Which I won't if anything happens to the team you're assigned. Comprende, Fenrir?"

"The times?" Raith asks, parroting Aviators as his hands are cuffed behind his back. "You're sending us off to war, buddy boy, just like they sent dear old dad off to Vietnam. Drafted us just like they drafted them. See, the times aren't changing, because ever since Midtown went up in smoke, we've been at war. Reasons change, people change, but war?"

"War never changes. I figured you of all people would remember that."

Slump. Thud. It's the sound of Ethan's kneecaps slapping harshly against the ground. His body straining mightily to keep himself from collapsing entirely from the rapidly spreading toxins inserted into his neck. But despite being tranquilized, Ethan manages to talk as if he was at Starbucks. Or maybe weinersnitzel. Possibly a Dairy Queen.

"Last time this 'appened to me, it ended with me fuckin' a chick and shootin' my captors in the face." A set of bleary eyes wander up to Tris. "You better fuckin' 'ope you get to be the chick, queer b—" fffhahh. One hand jars against the pavement as Holden's hand goes to try and desperately remove the tranq from his neck. Finally he manages to pull the thing from his neck, but a sloppy smile is offered up to Aviators. "What? You wanna be my new Tyr?"

Eyes slowly roll up to Raith. Though the man looks awfully fuzzy right about now. "Good line… First intelligent thing you've said all.." Ethan's face slaps against the pavement as his eyes slip shut.

The tranq gun is dropped artlessly as Raith's arrest of kinds is made, only for it to swerve back up and into holster before it can hit the ground. Tris glances over his shoulder as his teammates come out of the mist like some kind of mythological story, eyes glowing like demons and movements economically militant. His own mask goes on, then, and by the time boots come stomping around Ethan's downed form, there's no telling which one he is as the Wolf's arms are brought around his back and cuffed slackly.

Both men, unconscious and not, are bundled into the helicopter, and with all the grace and efficiency in which Eileen Ruskin was taken, two more Remnants are flown up into the greying sky, and their negotiations with them.

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